The X-Type was meant to put Jaguar firmly back in the black. It didn't, but here's one for pennies – in black

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 27 May 2022 / Loading comments

Die-cast models. Did you have any? Shed did. He had loads of 1:45 scale (check the forum for the inevitable correction on that) Dinky and Corgi cars, all carefully hurled into a big cardboard box at the end of the playing day to generate that authentic used look. Wedged into one of the four kitchen cupboards his mum had the use of in their tiny council house, Shed thought his precious collection was safe, but a mere 38 years after he’d moved out she put the whole lot in the bin without telling him. How selfish.

Since that dark day Shed has often thought about starting a new collection, but knowing Mrs Shed’s capacity for getting the wrong end of the stick he’s too frightened of what might happen. Somebody from the village would barge into his workshop unannounced and report seeing him in there bent over a model. That would be lights out for Shed, so to be on the safe side he sticks with memories of wheeling his original collection around at nose-rubbing carpet level in the front room. His favourites were a pink and grey Chevy Impala, a red Ford Thunderbird and a black and grey Bentley Continental with jewel headlights and working steering if you pressed one corner harder than the other. 

He never had a Dinky or Corgi Jaguar X-Type though. The main reason for that was that neither firm existed when Jaguar launched the X-Type in 2001. Corgi had gone into liquidation in 1989, ten years after Dinky had closed its (presumably tiny) doors. Interestingly, or possibly boringly, pre-war die-cast model cars fell apart just like real-life Jags would become famous for doing. Instead of rust however the models got something called zinc pest which over time would cause them to crumble, fracture and shatter.

This week’s full-sized shed (at last!) had some grown-up steel corrosion affecting its brake pipes in the early to mid 2010s, followed by some equally manly sill rot in 2018. That was the biggest risk you took when buying one of these. The rest of our car’s publicly visible history is good. Somehow the chain-timed 2.5 V6 engine survived being run dry of oil in 2011, by which point it had done 66,000 miles. 48,000 miles and 11 years later it failed its last test on a bulging front tyre, too much play in a track rod ball joint and too much gunk on the headlight lenses. 

The retest was clean. This can be a Jaguar thing. Owners of more workaday cars will routinely only get the ‘do not drive’ and ‘repair immediately’ defects sorted out, leaving the advisories for another day, or ideally another owner, but Jaguars will often as not be 100 percent mended after an MOT test. It’s out of respect for the marque. Custodians want to do the right thing by them. That right thing can end up becoming a lot of right things, of course, but with just 3,000 miles covered since this X-Type’s last test you’d like to think there won’t be a long list of ailments to put right this August. 

To help with that, the vendor is promising a new MOT and a 3-month arts and labour warranty. Sorry, that should be parts and labour. When he first heard that phrase as a spotty youth Shed thought it meant you were covered for anyone giving birth in the back of your car. To avoid that messy possibility he made a point of never buying anything more spacious or accessible than a two-door A35 for the first ten years of his motoring life. The mental scars haven’t fully healed so he is going to pass on this X-Type, but with a full and clean ticket in the glovebox, all four wheels driving, nearly 200hp under your right foot and a manual gearbox to stir it all up with, there’s no reason why you should dismiss it. Even though the sills were done four years ago you’d be a mug not to check them again. Watch out for rust bubbling around the windows too. 

The X-Type was Jaguar’s 3 Series. Ford was obviously hoping that selling 100,000 of them a year would generate enough cash for Jaguar to be allowed to continue building ‘proper’ Jags. In reality 350,000 or so were made in the 8-year run from 2001 to 2009, which works out at fewer than 44,000 a year. Not a raging success then for the last Geoff Lawson-designed Jag, but this manual Sport in the desirable non-colour of black might well make you wonder why things didn’t pan out better for it. Aussie F1 ace Mark Webber liked it so much he let them make a Mark Webber Special Edition. Honest! Here it was in 2015. Wonder if they sold that one? We’ll never know, but we do know that there was never a Dinky or Corgi version of it. 

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